It has been brought to KCGO’s attention by a number of members of their concerns at the increasing damage that is being caused by the Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio melanotus) to their plant and ratoon sugar cane crops. This would appear not to be restricted to the Kalamia area but is common throughout the district. Situation is being compounded by ever increasing population and the lack of natural predators.

KCGO understands the Purple Swamphens are very difficult to relocate away from crops and culling is more than likely necessary to remove them. BPS have been approached to establish what pest management strategies are available to growers for the Purple Swamphen.

BPS confirmed they are aware Coot damage is significant and over the last 4 years reported crop damage has ranged from 13000 to 5600 tonnes annually.  Last season around 8900 tonnes was reported and recorded by BPS.

BPS have advised these are a protected species and the only way for control under government regulation is to apply for a damage mitigation permit – see attached application form.  Permit application can also be lodged online via If any growers wish to apply for permit and the Department of Environment and Science (DES) require more information on district damage, or a letter of support verifying the damage, please contact BPS who will be willing to assist.

Should growers require assistance in completion of permit application, please do not hesitate to contact this office.

Les Elphinstone

Manager KCGO

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